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You can tell a REAL pool player

ONLY by their haircut.

People are always trying to determine who is a pool player by some mystical set of clues or observations.  Your first thought may be to watch a playerís stroke.  Certainly if the player has a smooth stroke then they must be a pool player. 

Or if they have an expensive cue, then they must be a pool player.  Or if they gamble heavily then they must be a pool player.  Or if they have tattoos then they must be a player.  Or scars.  Or shoot with a cigarette dangling from their lips.  Or they wiggle their little pinky in time with their warm up strokes.  Or hold the chalk in the crook of their little finger when shooting. Or, or, orÖ.

Well, silly people, you are missing the easiest way of telling pool players!  Dead nuts certain!  No jive.  On the dot.  Fur-Shure.  It is in their haircut.


You can tell a player by his haircut.  If it isnít an Official Pool Playersí Haircut, then he/she/it/they can not possibly be a player.  So there.  Take it to the bank.  Carlo said so. The OPPH.

The ONLY approved haircut is almost what would be called an IBM cut from a number of years ago, off the ears, short in back, not hanging in the eyes, and combed.  Policemen and preachers wonít take a second look at you as a possible sinner.  Women wonít notice, unless they are CPAs or Lawyers and are looking for a clean-cut man to take home to show to Momma and Poppa (before they split for a wild-weekend with some shaggy gold-toothed tattooed biker.)

At a recent tournament I was racked and stacked waiting for tables to open up so the WINNERsí side could continue play.  Notice how I slipped in the WINNER remark to let you know I was (still) on the WINNERsí side, subtle dog that I am. 

I had the grand opportunity to observe the rather culturally diverse assortment of haircuts and simultaneously correlating the haircut with the ability of the player, thereby coming up with the OPPH, or Official Pool Playerís Haircut.

One player cruised on by, with nary a hair on his head.  It had all slipped down to his goatee area.  The sparseness of his homegrown head-hair had resulted in a counter attack by a razor, resulting in a cue ball look.

However, to avoid a striking resemblance to a cantaloupe, goatee fuzz was left in front.  At least I think it was the front.  He was walking with the fuzz forward so unless he was walking backwards it must have been the front!  Sherlock, I am, I am. 

The next interesting one was a cap, or turban or something.  The owner had the leather jar-top screwed firmly on his head will long strands of hair coming out all around.  I know this gent and that is the only rooted hair under there.  If it is hiding under the hat, it ainít there.  This guy went to the opposite school of hair deployment as the cue-ball-with-face-fuzz-only guy.

Then along came wild-man.  A comb last hit his locks about the time he emerged onto this planet.  I donít think scissors have been anywhere close, either.  This guy must have some kind of Sampson complex that his skills reside in his hair. 

If someone at the next table is smoking, his life is in jeopardy!  When mixed with the visible oils, twigs and leaves, it rates as a 1st class fire hazard all by itself.  The only time it ever gets cut is when the dog chews it off.

Next came someone who had just a jar-top of hair, perfectly round, perched on top of his head.  This reminded of my youth when people called Marines Jar-Heads because of the shape of their cap and the shape of their haircuts.  Neat and clean and not a single hint of hair until the skull started to curve at the top.

Now, along came curly-red whose carrot colored top stood out like a ledge on the edge of the Grand Canyon.  The waves continued along the top of his head and just continued straight out, defying gravity, when it got to the edge of his head.  A puff of wind from the wrong direction would certainly send him flying or at least inflict a stiff case of whiplash.  He could poke you in the eye from a foot away.  Maybe it is some kind of illegal sighting mechanism.  "Somebody call a Ref!"

My favorite was a mix of three haircuts. 

First was the cue ball look in front.  Age and genetics will do that to you.  Then cut short-short on top.  A Marine would be proud.  And then long-long-long in back.  Skip one haircut and it would hit the middle of his back.  I can just imagine going into a hair-stylist, sitting down and leafing through a half-dozen stylebooks, and finally yelling "EUREKA! THAT IS THE STYLE FOR ME!"  My guess is that he dropped the book and the pages got torn and hasnít looked into the mirror since.

Now some of the older shooters have accepted the receding nature of their fur and simply decided to cut it close and treat it as a style, not a condition. 

Others have gone for the comb-over.  Now in the early stages of hair-evaporation a mild comb-over is still almost stylish.  It says "Hey, Ladies, even though it is getting thin, Iím still interested in looking HOT for you."  In later stages, it is comical and can result in an errant 12-inch long strand of hair jumping out of place and harpooning an eardrum, eyeball or nostril just as a critical shot is to be taken.  The Ladies just giggle and point.

Then the aging hippie floats around the corner.  The tie-died shirt, the specs, and finally the proud Sumo rubber-banded ponytail that looks like it has pulled the hair from all directions leaving only the Sumo top-knot tuft on top.  It makes you want to yell "Give it up!"

One young buck was into flinging his hair around as he surveyed the table for possible shots.  My guess is that a 4-hour tournament would have his neck so worn out that he couldnít hold up his head.  Then again heís young and probably wonít notice.  Probably looking for chicks that might be watching him.

The next specimen had shaved the sides of his head so the tattoo artist could add flames like I wanted to do to that old Chevy thirty years ago.  Wow, I never thought of that!  Permanent temple flames!  His female companion had handcuffs tatooed to her ankles.  I lunged at my brain-valve to turn off the disturbing mental images that were starting to flow.  It might have been left on though if her ankles hadnít been about the diameter of my cue case.

Long hair, short hair, combed, unkempt, clean, not so, red, blond, gray, black, brown, mauve, puce, thin, thick, thinning, straight, curly, kinky, buzzed, flapping, flowing, erect, floppy, sexy, gag-me with a house cue, neat and messy.  Man, oh, man, did we have the selection of hair.

But that is OK, for none of them had the Official Pool Playersí Haircut so it was inevitable that I would toast them on my way up the winners side.  There were not any other OPPHs to be seen!  I was in!  Home free!  Start spending the prize money for it was innnnn thhhhheeee bagggggg!

Next match.  Some guy with a short haircut and long drizzle of hair pouring out of his 3rd vertebra.  About 10 inches long, nicely twirled, and punctuated with several rubber bands.  This will be a cakewalk.  It was.  My OPPH theory is still holding water.

Next match.  Oh, oh.  He almost has a OPPH.  Hmmm, he might be trying to fake me out.  Nope, not him either.  5-1.  NEXT!  No biggy, some thin haired old goat.  5-2, only because I donated 4 games and he returned 2 on a silver platter.  Not a decent OPPH in sight!  Skating on in, am I.

Ouch.  Some silly kid, looks like heís been caught in an updraft of goo for a few months just drilled me.  5-2.  I get 2 BnRs, and he runs the rest.  I was online-offline-on-off-off-off-and-out. He was on-on-on-almost off-on-on-out.  Sheesh.  Time to reconsider my OPPH approach.

Thatís OK, now I get to play with the Loooooooseeeerrrs.

 Loooooooseeeeerrrrrrrs!  It sort of rolls off your tongue, at least until I remembered that I, too, am a Looooooserrrrrrrr. 

Double Sheesh.  I get drilled by a comb-over.  A bad one.

Ohhh, well Ö. screw my OPPH theory.  It doesnít work. 

Stay tuned for my next theory "You can only tell a Real Pool Player by the quality of his cue case!"


Nobody paid me any money to put these links here, I just thought they deserved it.  Tell them Carlo sent you, maybe they'll buy me a beer.

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